November 26, 2003

pictures, be free!

I'll not get into the vexed issue of copyright on the internet.

But I will give qudos to people who make their images available for wider use. A fine example is at: Galen J. Frysinger's site.

Posted by carla at 11:00 AM

November 23, 2003

maranucci, i love you

i have a new guitar. a semi-acoustic maranucci. Probably about as old as me, if not older. it is not a good guitar. but it was very, cheap, and feels lovely to play.

it is also the same make as my nylon string acoustic. which is over 30 years old.

for those of you who worry about me from time to time, i did actually sell my late 80's black yamaha bass to make room.

Posted by carla at 09:41 AM

November 21, 2003

wub

Every now and then a document will get the better of me. Instead of my usual ability to grab small wafty ideas and random detailoids and convince them to sit quietyly in smart patterns, I find myself staring blankly into the distance as they cavort around my head in mad bliss.

So it is today. For some reason the work I am currently doing has no tempo, no plan, (to its credit) a few loose standards, only an occasional linking concept, and a gobsmaking lack of pointyness.

It is like beating my head against sago pudding. I keep hoping to find a brick, because that would at least have some substance. Instead all I am finding is tepid carbohydrates.

gah.

Posted by carla at 08:58 AM

November 12, 2003

secretaries

Okay, facinating little usability and language tidbit: check out the Helping Outsiders section of Jacob Neilson's article. Weird. Really. When worlds collide. Of course you don't want the talk to the Secretary of Defence of the US. Cause they are *obviously* not in charge.

Similarly, I was surprised to find the Auditor General at http://www.oag.govt.nz. OAG? Office of the Auditor General. Thing was, they couldn't even be bothered registering www.auditor-general.govt.nz and forwarding it to the correct address.

Posted by carla at 07:43 AM

November 10, 2003

how unwise do you have to get before you get kicked out?

Donna Awatere Huata is either very stupid of very smart, and I can't quite figure out which. I'd guess smart, in a pinch. But more passionate than smart in the end. I sincerely doubt it will ever be clear about whether she was using the Pipi Foundation as a cash cow, or whether she just thought the 4 minute reading programme was fantastic. Either way, consistently putting pressure upon officials is a course of action that is somewhat dodgy at the best of times. Doing so when you (or your close family) can benefit from the money is foolhardy in the extreme.

Interestingly though, a Minister of the Crown managed to get away with actions that were deemed "very unwise". I can't for the life of me remember (and I also can't find it on the internet *anywhere*) what the exact details were, but a Minister in Muldoon's government got himself involved in an application for a loan by his neice. The quote was that his actions were "very unwise", but not actually illegal.

Donna appears to me to be in a similar soup. Perhaps husbands are that much closer than nieces, and a one-off use of Ministerial influence is less effecting than consistent MP pressure. Either way, the Auditor General's report reads to me like somewhere between "very unwise" and "extremely unwise". But certainly comes short of declaring anything illegal. The question I'm left with is whether a smart lady like Donna is capable of being that unwise, or whether she broke the rules intentionally. At the very least, she seems to have completed some very acrobatic double-think to justify her behaviour to herself.

Perhaps the most concerning thing was the ineptness of Government Departments in their contract management. While the old public service was somewhat unresponsive, at least they kept records of everything and knew exactly which pencils were being used where. Perhaps it is just the problems attendant on any new system, or maybe it is just MoE and TPK that are not coping. But I worry that the dismantling of the Massey-reform based public service has opened new gaps for corruption. New Zealand can't afford that.

Lastly, Wellington is a tiny place, and New Zealand isn't much bigger. Regardless of what Mr and Mrs Huata have been up to, there must be many, many other liasons between MPs and the people/organisations they ernestly champion.

Posted by carla at 10:20 PM

November 05, 2003

very decent man, mr fawkes

And decent spend-up on the part of the Wellington City Council. I'm genuinely impressed that I could see half the display from the South end of the Wellington Airport. And technically, I got to see the rest of it reflected against the gunpowder smoke.

I also got to see the local south coast fireworks aswell, and sip some Laphraoig, and not have to worry about numerous crowds, etc. And somehow, having airplanes landing and ships passing in the Cook Stright just added to the effect. Big ups to the citizens of the southern suburbs too, they put on a show like fire daisies against the surrounding hills.

I've started to relate to Guy Fawkes as a sort of promise of summer ritual. Invariably the weather sucks (windy this time, fortunately no rain) and it stays light far too long to get a good amount of time with the fireworks. But it (with Labour weekend) signifies the end of the interminable holiday-free winter and early spring months, and the beginning of mass celebration and warmth.

Typically, antipodeans do it backwards. Have the celebration of light about 6 weeks before the longest day of the year. But it seems fitting somehow.

p.s. I decided that breaking out the barbeque was stupid given the wind (and the reasonably high chances of setting fire to the neighbours house) so I brought in the hunk of iron I use to cook on the barbeque, cleaned it up and stuck it on two of the elements on the stove. I'm still surprised how much I like making frying things difficult. But there you go. Happiness on cast iron. : )

Posted by carla at 07:44 PM

November 04, 2003

the drama of sport

In case you haven't noticed, there has been a lot of rugby on recently.

I must be in the tiny minority of people who work somewhere that noone mentions it. Well, someone said something nice about the Welsh, but that's been it for the last month.

It has reminded me of the anti-rugby feeling I keep running into with my friends. Yes, rugby in New Zealand is a little like eating McDonald's or drinking Coca Cola, the sort of thing you do without thinking because it was put in front of you a long time ago and you've never properly reviewed your options. But I quite enjoy it and I was wondering why.

I have noticed that sport is partly about sport - the techniques, strategies, uniforms, physical prowess. But it is also about the stories about the people involved, and the stories about the teams (with nations or provinces attached). I have a private theory that a number of people watch for the stories - not the sport. A case in point was the Welsh halfback on Sunday. Poor bastard had spent the last 8 years or so getting back into the team after a nasty injury playing the All Blacks, and was badly injured again within minutes of taking the field.

The interesting thing about sport as a good drama, is that you don't necessarily know what the story will be this week. Winners can turn into loosers within moments, and months or even years of hard work can be lost. In much the same way that the All Blacks lost to France last world cup.

I have to admit, I'm now on the lookout for the main genres of sport stories, and this is what I've thought of so far:

* triumph over adversity (there are so many variants on this one it is quite boggling)
* we are the champions
* thriller (or who is winning now?)
* the unexpected ending
* the underdog wins (finally!) and the corrolary: my, how the mighty have fallen
* [enter sport here] was the winner on the day (whatever that is supposed to mean)
* the heartbreaking loss (whether or not they were the underdogs to start with)
* injury (and its unfortunate companion: playing through the pain)
* streakers (he, he, he!)
* important details (this is less of a story, and more of a history lesson)
* unjustice (variations on: they only won because they bowled underarm)
* important relationships (either on the same team or, even better, opposing - think Williams sisters here people)
* behind every successful sports person... (or I just want to decidate this medal to my mother)

All of which makes me think that sports viewing is more about drama than anything else.

Posted by carla at 09:54 PM

November 02, 2003

frick

I think that is how it is spelled. Anyway, "frick" is to blue what pink is to red. That peculiar shade of blue that always wants to make me vomit.

Except when it appears in the sky.

Posted by carla at 09:53 PM